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Valerie Confections

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Things I’m Not Going to Get Around to Reviewing

I’d say that I don’t review about half of the candy that I acquire. Some is for personal consumption or gifts, but a good proportion I just never get around to. Most of that you’ll never even see. These shown below are ones I at least took photos of, yet I still couldn’t muster a review.

Do if you’ve had any of these, please feel free to chime in with your thoughts so that at least other folks can get some feedback on them.

Brix Chocolate for Wine

Brix Chocolate - Special milk & dark chocolate blends made just for eating with wine. It comes in huge blocks that seem like they’d be difficult and messy. I picked up these tasting squares at the Fancy Food Show. I photographed them, I ate them. I read some other reviews.

Valerie Gold Leaf Fleur de Sel Caramel

These are Valerie Confections liquid caramel eggs in a dark chocolate shell with a dusting of gold flakes. They were divine and I ate a half a dozen of them in a matter of three days. (Along with a fabulous box of my favorite Lemon & Hazelnut Nougat.)

Eurocrem BlokI bought this in Pennsylvania last year at the grocery store near my sister’s house. Eurocrem Blok - it sounds like it could be the name of any number of products. A brand of butter. A solid deodorant stick. Maybe a fine chocolate.

I bought it because of the name and the package design, not because I thought it’d be good. Even though the package clearly says it’s good until October 2009, it was bloomed. Could have been my fault, could have been something that happened in my luggage. Could have been the store. But it wouldn’t be fair to review it and I’m not really into eating chalky chocolate.

Brandini Toffee Samples

Brandini Toffee has been suggested for review several times by readers. I thought that the Fancy Food Show was a perfect opportunity to do that. They gave me these itty-bitty samples (mostly because I visited them on the last day, not because they were stingy or anything ... not that any candy company is obliged to give me free samples just to get reviewed, because that’s also not true).

Not really the way to review toffee. One of these days I’ll find it in stores and buy a real-sized portion, not these sugar-cube-sized stuff made for Barbie dolls.

Lake Champlain Java Truffle Egg

I diligently picked out these samples of the missing flavors in my set of Lake Champlain truffle eggs when at the Fancy Food Show.

These are the Java Truffle Eggs.

Then I ate them. They were good. I did actually intend on getting more of them, since they were already photographed at the Whole Foods by my office, but sometimes I get lazy.

Frey Swiss Delice Dark Chocolate samplesThese are little plain dark chocolate tasting pieces of Frey Swiss Delice Dark Chocolate in 72% and 55% cacao.

I picked them up because I thought it’d be interesting to taste the chocolate base for the bars that seem to be so popular at Target and come in a bajillion flavor combinations except just plain chocolate.

I never got around to it and then I lost these eensy little pieces. (Seriously, you think they’re small, but they’re actually smaller than that.)

Goat's Milk CaramelI thought this was a fabulous little bite of caramel.

Goat’s milk is a little gamier, a little tangy and sometimes a little musty tasting compared to cow’s milk. These Beurre et Lait de chevre were no exception. It was like eating a bit of cream cheese with my caramel.

At the point where I ate them after the Fancy Food Show, I’d completely forgotten where I got them from. Then I found the second one a few weeks ago and I have to say that I think they’re product best eaten fresh.

So there you have it, if not full reviews, at least lots of eye candy.

Related Candies

  1. Kohler Chocolates Garden Ganache & Toffee Mountains
  2. Askinosie White Chocolate (Plain, Nibble & Pistachio)
  3. Lake Champlain & See’s Bunny Battle
  4. Frey Supreme: White, Lemon & Lime and Citron & Poivre
  5. Ethel Holiday Assortment
  6. Lake Champlain Hazelnut Eggs

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:34 pm     CandyLake ChamplainValerie ConfectionsFeatured NewsComments (7)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Valerie Confections: Pour Homme and Pour Elle

Valerie ConfectionsI check in with Valerie Confections from time to time, they’re about a mile from my house. The crazy little secret is that I go there for their teacakes. Especially in the summer, when I want something with a touch of chocolate but can’t bear a whole piece, the bottoms are dipped in chocolate. The cakes are moist, dense & lightly infused with flavors.

At the Fancy Food Show, however, Stan & Valerie were excited to show me their new Valentine’s collections. There are three:

The set called Pour Homme is for the gentleman. It has 11 pieces and comes in the dark brown box. Visually it’s dominated by large flat dark milk chocolate hearts that have fleur de sel and little almond toffee bits in them. It’s filled in with dark chocolate hearts with flowing caramel centers.

The set called Pour Elle is geared towards the gals and comes in the classic ivory box. This features large flat white chocolate hearts with rose petals and the small bittersweet chocolate hearts filled with rose petal and passionfruit ganache.

Both have 11 pieces and retail for $30.

For folks who want to share or prefer a different assortment there are boxes of various sizes (9, 18 & 36 pieces) that hold the bittersweet ganache hearts, gianduja rocher, and bittersweet chocolate with almond toffee bits.

Valerie Confections Valentine's Collection

I’ll just run down a few of the items I tasted:

Bittersweet Chocolate with Almond Toffee Bits (the smallest dark chocolate hearts shown above) - a simple pleasure. A mix of smooth bittersweet chocolate that has a glossy and smooth melt with little toffee chips and almonds. Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t getting enough toffee ... but then again, if I wanted chocolate and toffee, I could just order the chocolate covered toffee, so this piece is more about chocolate.

Valerie Confections - Fleur de Sel CaramelBittersweet Chocolate Hearts filled with Liquid Caramel - a little taller and wider than the other filled hearts, this one has a wonderfully thick and gooey caramel. Lightly salted, it has all the flavor of a toffee but the smooth texture of a custard. Lightly salted, the dark chocolate lends the perfect container and dark woodsy sweetness.

Bittersweet Chocolate Hearts filled with Rose Petal Passionfruit Ganache - a little petal graces the top of these pieces, but just sniffing it I could tell from the fragrance that it was the rose. The center is a white butter ganache with the tangy and tropical bite of passionfruit. The slightly soapy rose took some of the passionfruit earnestness away. There is a bit of a lingering aftertaste, kind of like jasmine. I suggest eating these last. Your dessert’s dessert.

Large Rose Petal White Chocolate Hearts (shown in a small version in the picture above) - this one was a little bland for me, and I did eat it first in my tasting session because I know that white can be a bit delicate and finicky. The white chocolate was smooth and not overly sweet, with a slight malty taste of cocoa. But the floral infusion didn’t quite hit me, but did leave a fresh aftertaste.

Valerie Confections - Toffee & Gianduia HeartGianduja Rocher - a sweet milky explosion of salt, buttery toffee chips and creamy sweet chocolate. It’s not a pasty, sticky gianduia. It’s a solid form that gives a soft and silky melt to the chocolate and a punch of roasted hazelnut flavor. It is sweet though, luckily the toffee chips and the salt cut through that.

Darkened Milk Chocolate Hearts with Almond Toffee Bits and Fleur de Sel - I want this in bar form year round. The “darkened milk chocolate” tastes like a cross between bittersweet and a European dairy milk chocolate. The dairy notes are complemented well by the toffee chips and the whole thing is set off by powerful zaps of salt in liberal reservoirs throughout.

Valerie Confections - Dark Chocolate GanacheBittersweet Ganache in Bittersweet Shells Finished with 23 Karat Gold (the picture here is of a round version of the same truffle - the uneaten one is above). Delicate mix of flavors, as this is all about the chocolate. The ganache is soft and smooth. There’s an immediate acidic bite that gives way pretty quick to some dark charcoal and alcoholic notes like fine cognac and tobacco. The gold version has a bit more chocolate to it, because of the geometry ... the gold flakes do nothing for me, except distinguish it from the toffee chip dark heart.

The attention to detail in the items, with their perfectly placed decorations and well tempered chocolate is exquisite. No bubbles or voids, everything glossy and gorgeous. On the personal side of things, I go all weak in their knees for their nougat and am a little disappointed they don’t have it again this year for Valentine’s (as that’s what my Man gave me last year). But I like it when they try new things and enjoyed the darkened milk with toffee chips most of all. (So I guess I’d have to opt for the Pour Homme ... luckily the box doesn’t say anything about it being geared for fellas.)

Valerie Confections - Petit FoursI like supporting a local business and that everything is made fresh ... not last year and has been sitting in a warehouse. If you go to the store you can get the petits fours and the tea cakes by the piece.

Valerie Confections
3360 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA

(213) 739-8149

Related Candies

  1. BonBonBars: Malt Ganache & Scotch
  2. Mori Ex Cacao Gift Set
  3. L’Artisan du Chocolat
  4. Valerie Lemon Hazelnut Nougat
  5. CocoaVino
  6. Valerie Toffees & Nougats
Name: Pour Homme & Pour Elle Valentine's Collections
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Valerie Confections
Place Purchased: samples from Valerie Confections
Price: $30
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Toffee, White Chocolate, Nuts, Valerie Confections, United States, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:45 am     Comments (6)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mori Ex Cacao Gift Set

A couple of months ago I got an invitation from Valerie Confections to preview their Mori Ex Cacao gift set. It’s a set of three skull-shaped chocolates. Rather than a little flat piece of candy, these are large and three dimensional with crisp and freaky details on the skulls, which are then filled with a premium truffle ganache or caramel.

The fissures in the skull can be made out easily, as can the individual teeth and with the three-dimensions of the skull, even the back of the head continues these details down to the base and roof of the mouth.

Dean & Deluca Catalog

The Skulls were designed by Modern Alchemist Douglas Little and are about the size of a hefty plum. The design is based on DL&Co’s Memento Mori Collection, which features a similar looking skull candle and other small statuary pieces. A little bit more upscale than the traditional pumpkins and witches, this rather macabre take also features some incredible attention to detail.

First, the confections are hand “cast” with premium Felchlin Chocolate. Then each is filled with one of three centers. The chocolates are created in a three dimensional silicone mold, based on an original design by Douglas Little. After unmolding the chocolates are then airbrushed by hand with a cocoa-butter based “paint” which results in three different confections - one charcoal-black, one cocoa-brown and one bleached-bone white.

image
(this image was provided by Valerie Confections)

I didn’t get to eat the “real thing”, instead they created some tasting portions, which looked an awful lot like regular old chocolates (probably better for me that way). This means that my tasting notes are not based on the actual proportions of chocolate-to-filling you may get with the ultimate product, but all the other elements were the same.

Scorched Caramel
They say: Organic cream is slowly combined with sugar over an intense flame, until the deep amber confection appears. Decadent.

I had my doubts, mostly because the caramel was so dark, I was afraid it’d be bitter and though it did have some burnt tones to it, it was complex and not too sweet. It went wonderfully with the chocolate.

Bitter Brandied Cherry
They say: An exquisite and unusual confection of indulgent bitter chocolate, Kirsch-perfumed ganache and succulent sour cherries steeped in liqueur, finished in porcelain white cocoa.

I say I don’t like cherry flavor, but these were real sour cherries, not some crazy artificial extract. The deep fruit flavors went really well in the ganache, a slight bitter note which I think tied into the macabre tone of the confections quite well.

Curious Chili
They say: An eccentric array of chilies and spices are combined with the deepest chocolate into an exotic and exciting sensation, with a heat that lingers long after the chocolate is gone. An extraordinary experience.

Oh, this really lived up to its hype. The chocolate flavors were not overpowered by the spice. There was definitely a bit of throat burning going on, but again, it fit very well with the design and presentation as a whole.

Would I buy these? Certainly not for $100 a set ($40 for an individual skull of any flavor). I understand that the ingredients are premium and they’re really labor intensive. So it’s not that I don’t think they’re worth it, but the whole skull thing just isn’t really that big of a draw to me. I like my candy pretty and I never quite got how skulls and bones celebrate life. But if you are a fan of this type of design, and if you’re looking for something purely decadent to arouse all of the senses (this would be great to share as a couple) then this would be an excellent gift.

They can be purchased directly from Valerie Confections or from Dean & Deluca (they only carry the full set but also have some companion products that might complete the effect). They come in a lovely black silk box.

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  4. Repost: CraniYUMS!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:40 am     CandyChocolatierReviewHalloweenValerie ConfectionsCaramelChocolate7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (8)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Valerie Lemon Hazelnut Nougat

Valerie Confections has another seasonal nougat. This one is Lemon Hazelnut Nougat Covered in Dark Chocolate.

image

It’s heavenly looking stuff, with a good dark glossy sheen and sparlkling little slivers of candies Meyer Lemons from June Taylor. The chocolate is a buttery smooth dark Valrhona and the nougat itself is studded with organic hazelnuts from Trufflebert Farms.

Sigh.

I’m in heaven.

The price is, well, pricey. But Mother’s Day is around the corner, so if your mum is as nuts for nougat as I am, she might think you appreciate her or something if you were to show up for Sunday Brunch with a box of these. And maybe she’ll let you have a piece.

I think I was a little more fond of the Holiday nougat, which was orange and almond, but the fresh flavor of the lemon is really refreshing. There isn’t a trace of bitterness in the lemon zest, it’s just pure flavor and the chewy texture.

UPDATE 4/20/2009: I’ve just finished another box of this. I don’t know if it was the seasonal variation in the candied lemons, but this was divine. The bittersweetness of the chocolate and the bittersweetness of the candied peels was just spot on. I’ve bumped this up to a 10. I had a lot of fine candy around the house to eat, but this was what I kept going for. The price has also come down.

Name: Valerie Lemon Hazelnut Nougat
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Valerie Confections
Place Purchased: samples from Valerie Confections
Price: $40 $36 for a box of 14 pieces
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Nougat, Nuts, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:43 pm     Comments (7)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Valerie Toffees & Nougats

Part of the fun of Candy Blog is going around town buying sweets because it’s, you know, for the blog. But even with my wide travels, there are still things in my very own city that I’ve never heard of. And shame on me for not seeking them out! I got an email from a blogging friend of mine who wanted to hook me up with a candy making friend of his. (Any candy making friends of yours are always welcome as friends of mine.)

imageThus I was introduced to Valerie Confections. I’ll skip right to the point. It’s freaktastically good.

I’ve been introduced to a lot of toffee and I wasn’t that keen on finding yet another toffee company, but they currently have a seasonal Holiday Nougat. The nougat is in the soft French style, with a mellow flavor, soft chew and intense orange flavor and then studded with crunchy almonds. It’s all covered in excellent bittersweet chocolate and dusted with some flakes of real gold.

The nougat is firm but very soft with small candied orange pieces that give a burst of zest to it all over again.

The pieces are large and generous (about 1.75” square) and drop dead gorgeous.

I was so excited at how beautiful and tasty they were that I invited over my neighbor who has been around the world and shared a piece with her, saying that it was “really, really, really good.” She instead corrected me saying that it was “really good, really good, no, really good.”

I shared half that box of Holiday Nougat, which is often the way I feel about great candy. Part of me wants to hoard it and gobble it up and part of me wants to give as many people as possible the same experience I’ve had. The latter usually wins out. The nougat experience, however, was also encouraging for the toffees that were still sitting in my studio.

image

Like the Holiday Nougat the toffees were just lovely. The packaging is amazing. The boxes are soft looking and the simple grossgrain ribbon give an air of sophistication that is seldom imparted to the pedestrian toffee.

The toffee assortment that engaged me most, of course, was the The Debut which was all bittersweet chocolate - Almond, Almond Fleur de Sel, Ginger, Mint, Orange and Classic Toffee.

Let me just say this about the the toffee itself. Imagine butter that’s been sweetened to the point that it’s crisp and caramelized. That’s this toffee. It cleaves in the front teeth in a way that almost crumbles, but without all those flecks that toffees sometimes leave.

The pieces are thin, unlike many rustic toffee planks out there. It’s incredibly buttery. Each of the toffee squares is a different flavor. They were all perfectly balanced with the Ginger as a special standout in my mind because of the way the earthy notes of the ginger blend so well with the burnt sugar flavors.


image

The Peanut Assortment was rather different from the toffee. It was crunchier and less obviously sweet. Half the pieces were milk and half dark, all were sprinkled with fleur de sal and topped with a single red-skinned peanut. The salt dominated here and brought out the very smoky and roasted notes of the peanuts. It was like a peanut brittle that was completely integrated (the nuts were crushed so it was more the flavor than texture). It’s little grainier than the regular toffee but very satisfying.

Valerie Confections also features a Milk Assortment which is more than just a milk chocolate version of the Debut, it features two flavors unique in this set: Hazelnut Toffee - plus Gianduja Rocher as well as the Almond, Almond Fleur de Sel, Mint and Classic. Nut fans may also be intrigued by the The Almond Assortment, Gianduja Rocher Assortment or Hazelnut Assortment.

High quality ingredients, attention to detail, freshness and spectacular presentation all mark these as premium candies. They’re expensive at $20.00 for a six piece box (96 grams) of Toffee and $50.00 for the insanely delicious Holiday Nougat. Great presents or hostess gifts. Also keep them in mind if you’re one of those people who are angling for a high-end wedding favor since they do custom orders and packaging. I can definitely see myself buying the Holiday Nougat again, but I think I’d only pick up the Toffee as a gift or for a special occassion ... unless I found a store that let me buy just one piece (then I’m in trouble).

Name: Assorted Toffee and Holiday Nougat
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Valerie Confections
Place Purchased: samples from Valerie Confections
Price: $20 & $50 a box
Size: 96 grams
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Nougat, Nuts, Toffee, Peanuts, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:22 am     Comments (7)

Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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Choose one or more:

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Tcho Mokaccino

• 10 Candy Corn Candies that aren’t Candy Corn

• Halloween Candy Spotting 2014

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